Here is the secret recipe. Actually, it is not really a secret as your neighbourhood Indian restaurant is probably preparing your Friday night feast with something very similar, but they have been making darn sure the customer is kept in the dark. Until now!
- 4-5 medium onions, peeled and quartered (800g approx unpeeled weight)
- 1 head garlic, peeled (i.e. lots of cloves!)
- 120g/4oz piece of ginger, chopped into small pieces (peel if you like - we don't bother: as with a lot of things, the flavour is in the skin!)
- 1 litre water
- Place all the ingredients in a pan, bring to the boil and simmer until everything is soft and translucent (about half an hour).
- Leave to cool, then blend till smooth. You will have about 1.2 litres or a little more.
- You can leave this sitting around on the stove-top for a day, then it will last for about a week in the fridge, so you can make it a couple of days before you start cooking the actual curries.
Our recipes use 300ml/half pint amounts of Secret Sauce, so the above makes enough for four. This can be frozen in recipe-sized portions to simplify future curry-making sessions. When defrosting you can just empty it straight in to the pan to let it melt, or let it sit around for a few hours in a bowl if you are organised enough! I don't want to patronise anyone out there, but when I freeze things (secret sauce, curry sauce, apple crumble, cheese, you name it) I put it in a freezer bag (labelled - you think you will know what it is, but you won't!) in a square plastic box. When frozen you just remove it from the box, which then goes back in the tupperware cupboard via the washing up (if you feel it's necessary) and you are left with a neat frozen block in a plastic bag. This way you don't need 100's of the boxes but your freezer is still a place to be proud of!
We find that preparing the above in double or even triple batches in a very large pan makes life even easier. There is a wonderful rubber tube for peeling cloves of garlic that is available from all good cook shops, so you don’t even get smelly hands!
NB. You are very welcome to make a curry without using this technique! You can take the onion, garlic & ginger and blend to a paste. OR, chop an onion finely, fry gently in some oil and add a squirt each of garlic and ginger from a tube. In both cases at some stage in the cooking process add 200ml of water.